How to (Safely) Teach Anyone to Do A Headstand
I’ve taught hundreds of people to get into a headstand, and their success had nothing to do with their size, shape, age, fear, upper body strength, or balancing skills. I think headstand is particularly exhilarating, because it’s very often the first “real” inversion someone accomplishes. These two tips will save anyone struggling with sticking this pose:
The Book Rule. If you opened a book and tried to make it stand upright, how would it look? Your headstand’s foundation should look the same. Shoulders over the elbows with the hands clasped. If your elbows are too far apart, you’ll fall forward or back, and the same would happen if they were pulled in too close to each other - it’d be impossible to keep your balance. Back to your book image: if you spread the ends too far apart, it’ll tip over, right? Same goes for your body!
The “L” Rule. Make an “L” with your right hand using the index finger and thumb. Bring your thumb to your nose and stretch your index finger to your scalp and move it as far back as it’ll go without moving your thumb. Wherever the index finger stops is about where the pressure should be when you’re balancing.
So, now you have your solid foundation, and you know where the pressure will be applied. Find a wall you can come up against. Snuggle the head down, pop the hips up like you’re doing a downward dog, and walk the feet towards the face until it feels like you’re about to tip over. Stop here, and try lifting one leg, and then the other. There’s no kicking in headstand.
To learn more about yoga, check out The Complete Guide To Yoga With Tara Stiles.
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